Telemarketers hit with call register price hike

Do Not Call register down $300K last year

Telemarketers will pay more to access to the government's Do Not Call register list which is needed to remove banned phone numbers from telephone directories.

The fees are used to maintain the $17 million register, which was introduced in 2006 by the then communications minister Helen Coonan to provide an option to ban unsolicited telemarketer calls.

Government agencies, recognised religious groups and charities are exempt from the law.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said the 4.8 per cent price hike, set to go live in July, is due to a $300,000 operating cost loss last year which occurred due to rising maintenance costs for the Telemarketer Access Portal, and a drop in demand for large subscription types.

The regulator will need to scrape $5.5 million over the four years to June 2011 to meet the expected $10.3 million operating costs for the register over the same period.

ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman called for comment over the proposed changes that will apply until June next year.

“As ACMA's administration costs are passed on to telemarketers who access the register, the new arrangements ultimately should hopefully provide an ongoing benefit to the telemarketing industry,’ Chapman said in a statement.

Access Economics assisted with building the new model, which is calculated on annual subscription fees.

The regulator will also remove the excess usage charges facility, and will warn users through the registry Web portal if they use more than 80 percent of their maximum subscription limit.

Discount telco Dodo Australia was slapped with the largest penalty in the history of the register after its offshore call centres rang de-listed Australian phone numbers.

The telco opted to pay the $147,400 ACAMA fine rather than pursue the matter in court and face incurring a higher bill.

Dodo incurred the fine after it illegally called 67 telephone numbers listed on the register.

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